Murray falls in Washington opener while Halep, Pegula win

Murray falls in Washington opener while Halep, Pegula win
Andy Murray of Great Britain walks off the court after losing to Mikael Ymer of Sweden during Day 3 of the Citi Open at Rock Creek Tennis Center on August 01, 2022 in Washington, DC. (AFP)
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Updated 02 August 2022

Murray falls in Washington opener while Halep, Pegula win

Murray falls in Washington opener while Halep, Pegula win
  • World number 50 Murray, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion, is trying to earn a seeding at the US Open, which he won a decade ago

WASHINGTON: Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray of Britain crashed out in the opening round of the ATP and WTA Washington Open on Monday, falling to Sweden’s Mikael Ymer.
The 35-year-old Scotsman fell to 115th-ranked Ymer 7-6 (10/8), 4-6, 6-1 after two hours and 50 minutes at the US Open tuneup tournament.
“I’m excited,” said Ymer, who saved four set points in the first set. “A lot left to do but it’s a very good start of the American swing.”
World number 50 Murray, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion, is trying to earn a seeding at the US Open, which he won a decade ago.
“It’s still possible,” Murray said. “I would just need to have a good run in Canada or Cincinnati really. It’s pretty straightforward if I was to make a quarterfinal or a semifinal, which right now — after a loss like that — doesn’t seem realistic.
“I do feel like if I play very well that I could do that. But I’ll need to certainly play better than I did today.”
Ymer, who lost his only career ATP final last August in Winston-Salem, will next face 15th seed Aslan Karatsev.
Ymer won 75 percent of his first-serve points, 49-of-65, and smashed 37 winners past Murray, who made only 25 with 35 unforced errors, five more than Ymer.
Murray had a set point in the 12th game of the first set but sent a backhand wide and Ymer held into a tiebreaker.
Murray had three more set points in the tiebreak but Ymer smashed two forehand winners and a forehand volley winner to pull level at 7-7, prompting Murray to toss his racquet in frustration. Ymer, 23, took the set on a backhand volley winner.
“Had chances in the first set to close that out,” Murray said. “Didn’t get it. Yeah, frustrating.”
While Murray clawed back to force a third set, Ymer raced to a 4-0 lead, they exchanged breaks on double faults and Ymer ended the match on a backhand crosscourt winner.
Murray said he will explore why he has had cramping issues in his past two matches when he often thrives in heat and humidity.
“I started cramping at the end of the first set, Murray said. “After that you’re just trying to find a way to get through the match.
“Need to have a little look at that with my team and maybe see why that is, make a few changes.”
Two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep, coming off a Wimbledon semifinal run, beat Spanish qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-3, 7-5. 




Simona Halep of Romania plays a shot against Cristina Bucsa of Spain during Day 3 of the Citi Open at Rock Creek Tennis Center on August 01, 2022 in Washington, DC. (AFP)


“Always the first round is difficult when you change the surface,” third seed Halep said. “I know it’s going to take time to make the game more solid.”
US top seed Jessica Pegula cruised 6-2, 6-2, over US wildcard Hailey Baptiste.
Pegula won the most recent WTA Washington event in 2019 after two missed years due to Covid-19.
“It definitely feels weird,” Pegula said. “It’s great to be back.”
Britain’s Kyle Edmund made a triumphant return to ATP singles after three left knee surgeries and a 20-month layoff by defeating Japanese qualifier Yosuke Watanuki 6-4, 7-6 (10/8).
Edmund, who next faces British 16th seed Daniel Evans, played in his first tour-level singles match since October 2020 at Vienna, a month before his first operation.
“I didn’t find it easy today,” said Edmund. “I hung in there and I got my reward in the end.”


Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup

Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup
Updated 01 October 2022

Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup

Turmoil at home swirls around Iran team ahead of World Cup
  • The Iranian football federation tried to silence fans by locking them out of the stadium in Austria
  • Players made their silent protest at a World Cup warmup game this week

GENEVA: Political issues are swirling around the Iran men’s football team amid turmoil on the streets at home just weeks before the World Cup where it will play the United States, Wales and England.
At home in Iran, two weeks of demonstrations and a violent crackdown by state authorities have followed the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of the morality police. She had been detained for allegedly wearing a mandatory headscarf too loosely.
Players made their silent protest at a World Cup warmup game this week, where the Iranian soccer federation tried to silence fans by locking them out of the stadium in Austria.
The federation also tried this month to organize a warmup game in November with Russia, Iran’s military ally whose teams are pariahs in football since the invasion of Ukraine.
FIFA was urged Friday by long-time campaigners for the rights of women fans to attend games in Iran to expel the national team from the World Cup.
“The Islamic Republic’s authorities and its football federation must not be given the honor of participating in football’s finest tournament while it is killing its citizens on our streets,” the Open Stadiums group said.
Open Stadiums called on FIFA to uphold its statutory commitment to respect and strive to promote “all internationally recognized human rights.”
Soccer’s governing body did not immediately comment on the fans’ request.
FIFA already did expel Russia from this World Cup — imposing a ban before a European qualifying playoffs semifinal in March against Poland — though without invoking human rights reasons. Instead, FIFA cited “irreparable and chaotic” harm to the World Cup due to security risks and potential opponents likely refusing to play Russia.
Iran should certainly play at the World Cup in Qatar, its near neighbor across the Arabian Gulf water, though the likelihood increased this week of political disruption for FIFA to deal with at the tournament starting Nov. 20.
Players have made their stand after being criticized for not reacting to Amini’s death days later at their first warmup game in Austria.
On Sunday, striker Sardar Azmoun wrote to his 4.9 million followers on Instagram that team rules prohibited comment “but I am no longer able to tolerate silence.”
He added being kicked out of the team would be “a small price to pay for even a single strand of Iranian women’s hair.”
A team-wide reaction followed Tuesday when the Iranian anthem played ahead of the game against Senegal. Each player wore a wore a plain black jacket that covered up their national team badge.


The game went ahead without fans in the stadium near Vienna, as the federation tried to stop demonstrators outside using a platform for dissent that would be seen on a live broadcast at home.
Star striker Mehdi Taremi later wrote on Instagram of being “ashamed” to see videos from Iran of violence against women in the streets.
Protesters in Iran have also targeted wider repression with some calls to overthrow the clerical establishment that has ruled Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution.
Football was drawn closer into the Iranian turmoil in the same week FIFA president Gianni Infantino claimed progress for women’s fans there at a World Trade Organization event in Geneva.
“Women attend football games now in Iran which was not possible until a couple of (months) ago,” Infantino said Tuesday, when he also visited United Nations human rights officials hours before the Iran players’ protest in Austria.
Infantino’s claim was disputed by Open Stadiums which said “when the Islamic Republic pretended to open league matches for women, it was far from the equality FIFA’s own statutes require.”
“To begin with, very few women could buy tickets, then in a humiliating way got physically harassed by Iran’s morality police,” the activist group said.
The tension between FIFA and Iranian women fans is despite some success at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
FIFA intervened four years ago to ensure fans could display their campaign banners in stadiums.
More cooperation could be called upon in Qatar, when Iran has a global audience to face England in just the second game of the tournament on Nov. 21.
Coach Carlos Queiroz’s team also faces Wales in Group B on Nov. 25 and four days later against the US.


International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years

International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years
Updated 01 October 2022

International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years

International Olympic Committee renews Saudi Arabian memberships for next four years

RIYADH: The International Olympic Committee on Friday announced that it is renewing three memberships for Saudi Arabia for the next four years, while adding a new fourth membership, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach said the three committee memberships that have been renewed include Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal as a member of the Marketing Commission.
The IOC renewed the membership of SOPC Vice President Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz as vice president of the Commission for Public Affairs and Social Development.
Saudi ambassador to the US Princess Reema bint Bandar, who is a member of the IOC and board member of SOPC, was granted a new membership in the Sustainability and Legacy Commission, in addition to renewing her previous membership in the Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commission and the Coordination Commission for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.

 


The Kingdom’s renewed and additional membership in the IOC, the largest and most important sports organization in the world, comes within the framework of strengthening and raising the number of Saudi capabilities in international organizations, in line with the Kingdom’s expanding sporting sector and in accordance with the objectives of its Vision 2030.
On Friday, the IOC also announced that Bach had appointed an equal number of women and men to the commissions for this year, marking “a historic milestone in the committee’s efforts to increase gender balance at its governance level.”

 


Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022
Updated 30 September 2022

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism and NBA launch official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022
  • Burj Khalifa light projection marks a week until 1st ever NBA Games in the Arabian Gulf
  • The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will feature the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks playing two preseason games at Etihad Arena

ABU DHABI: The iconic Burj Khalifa was on Friday lit by the logo of The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 that are set to start on Oct. 6 in the capital of the UAE.
Hundreds of excited spectators gathered to look on as the logo of the historic event was displayed on the skyscraper’s façade, accompanied by a stunning light show event.
The event was held in celebration of the official countdown to The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) – Abu Dhabi and the National Basketball Association (NBA).
A countdown clock was briefly displayed with eye-catching lights beamed onto Burj Khalifa, creating yet another milestone in the history of one of the most popular sports leagues in the world.
The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 will feature the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks playing two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. GST, marking the league’s first games in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.
The games are part of a ground-breaking multiyear collaboration between the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi.
A media statement said the “NBA District,” an immersive, interactive fan event in conjunction with The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, will be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat in Abu Dhabi from Oct. 5 and Oct. 9. NBA District will showcase the music, media and art associated with NBA culture. Fans will be able to engage with NBA personalities from around the world, watch authentic NBA game entertainment, enjoy hands-on basketball activities, and purchase limited-edition NBA merchandise.
Fans can purchase tickets to the NBA District and the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 by visiting NBAEvents.com/AbuDhabi and follow @NBAArabic on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest updates, news and content in Arabic.


CAS asked to judge Ecuador case by 10 days before World Cup

CAS asked to judge Ecuador case by 10 days before World Cup
Updated 30 September 2022

CAS asked to judge Ecuador case by 10 days before World Cup

CAS asked to judge Ecuador case by 10 days before World Cup
  • CAS said it registered appeals by the Chilean and Peruvian soccer federations against a FIFA ruling this month
  • Chile officials claim to have documents proving Castillo is actually Colombian

LAUSANNE, Switzerland: Sport’s highest court has been asked to judge a case that aims to remove Ecuador from the World Cup by no later than Nov. 10.
Just 10 days before the team should face host Qatar in the opening game.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said it registered appeals by the Chilean and Peruvian soccer federations against a FIFA ruling this month that Ecuador defender Byron Castillo was in fact eligible to play in the eight qualifying games he was selected for.
CAS gave no timetable for appointing judges and organizing a hearing, though said both parties appealing asked for a final award by Nov. 10.
Chile officials claim to have documents proving Castillo is actually Colombian and that Ecuador should forfeit all eight games he played in as 3-0 losses.
That legal argument was dismissed by FIFA’s disciplinary committee in June and upheld by FIFA appeal judges two weeks ago.
Ecuador placed fourth in the South American qualifying group in March and claimed a direct World Cup entry. Days later they was drawn into Group A with Qatar – playing the host on Nov. 20 in Doha — Netherlands and Senegal.
If the qualifying games were forfeited, the revised points totals would lift Chile to fourth from seventh.
Peru placed fifth and have asked CAS to get Ecuador’s entry as the next highest placed South American team. Peru already lost an intercontinental playoff to Australia in June.


France’s Kamara to miss World Cup due to knee injury

France’s Kamara to miss World Cup due to knee injury
Updated 30 September 2022

France’s Kamara to miss World Cup due to knee injury

France’s Kamara to miss World Cup due to knee injury
  • Kamara was injured while playing for Aston Villa against Southampton this month

BIRMINGHAM, England: France midfielder Boubacar Kamara has been ruled out of the World Cup after sustaining knee ligament damage.
Kamara was injured while playing for Aston Villa in a 1-0 win against Southampton this month.
The 22-year-old Kamara was picked in France’s Nations League games this month but had to withdraw.
Villa manager Steven Gerrard confirmed the extent of Kamara’s injury on Friday ahead of an English Premier League game against Leeds on Sunday.
“Bouba will be missing until after the World Cup unfortunately, so that’s a huge blow,” Gerrard said.
Kamara joined Villa from Marseille on a free transfer in July and has started every game.
He forced his way into Didier Deschamps’ plans to successfully defend the World Cup.